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Child Suicide Numbers Up In NC, While Overall Child Fatality Rates Drop

Child death rates in North Carolina have held steady in recent years despite a downward trend since the 1990s.
Lotus Carroll
Flickr Creative Commons

The state's child fatality rate remained relatively unchanged in 2014 despite an increase in suicide. That's according to data released by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

The rate of 57.8 deaths per 100,000 children is a slight increase from the year before, but is lower than the rate in 2012.

The data shows that homicide deaths dropped by five points from the year before, and by 22 over the past decade.

However, suicide death rose by 22 points in just four years.

In a  statement, Intentional Death Prevention Committee co-chair Michelle Hughes says the Child Fatality Task Force will focus more keenly on the issue of suicide in the coming year. Hughes says they plan to examine various prevention options, including access to mental health services, prevention education in schools, access to lethal means, and cultural factors.

The North Carolina General Assembly reports the state's child death rate has dropped 46 percent since the creation of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

A legislative statement points out there's been an overall downward trend in child fatality since the task force was created in 1991. The group makes safety and health policy recommendations to the General Assembly based on data, research, and expert presentations.

Motor vehicle deaths are still the leading cause of death for teens aged 15-17. But the general assembly reports that teenage driver crashes have dropped by more than one-third among 16-year olds since the creation of a graduated driver's license.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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